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  #41  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:14 PM
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It's a mix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhnam83 View Post
Yes, I am referring to the Japanese Imperial family. I also could only find a picture. It looks like a really skinny Akita or a large Shiba Inu.

Thanks.
The dog's name is YURI and it is a mix of part Shiba.
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  #42  
Old 11-10-2011, 08:41 PM
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A princess could choose not to marry, but it is rare. The law is really unfair to them; if they marry, they lose everything. Oh, sure, you could say just marry a noble or a prince, but they abolished the noblity in Japan decades ago and it's not like princes just line up outside your door asking to marry you.
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  #43  
Old 01-26-2012, 03:27 PM
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Here is a nice article about naming customs in Japan. Before the war, there was obviously a habit of using kanji characters linked to the name of the emperor´s reign: In 1912, when Emperor Meiji passed away and the reign of Emperor Taisho began, the most popular name for boys was
Quote:
Shoichi (正一), which features the shō (正) character, meaning "right" or "just," from the Emperor's name. To that was added ichi (一), which means "one," signifying the first year of the Taisho Era (1912-26). Not surprisingly, the following year's most popular name for baby boys was Shoji (正二), comprising the same kanji character from the name of the Emperor with (二), which means "two," tagged on instead. Then, with startling predictability, the name that topped the popularity ranking for boys born in 1914, the third year of the Taisho Era, was Shozo (正三), since the character 三 means "three." Meanwhile, the most popular name for girls born in 1913 was Masako (正子), because that same kanji "正" can also be read as "masa."
Likewise, the death of Emperor Taisho and the subsequent ascent to the Imperial throne of Emperor Hirohito (known posthumously in Japan as Emperor Showa), on Dec. 25, 1926, resulted in a rush of parents naming their sons after him, with a spike in the names of babies bearing the kanji 昭 (shō), meaning "bright" or "calm," from 昭和 (shōwa), a compound kanji taken from the teachings of Confucius that translates as "calm and peaceful."
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  #44  
Old 01-31-2012, 12:07 PM
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“How are Japanese Emperors named?”

Someone who was writing a novel for the National Novel Writing Month wanted to know in a forum: “How are Japanese Emperors named?” because, as he said, in his story “the now-princess Aiko will become Empress of Japan in a few decades“ and he needs to know if she will „be Empress Aiko, or have a different name?“

The answers make a nice thread where you can learn a lot about the naming of Japanese royals (Why is Princess Aiko called Princess Toshi?) and also read some gossip as there is also a reporter taking part in the conversation who lives in Chiba, Japan and “did a lot of work covering the family. I was there when they announced that Hisahito had been born and was a boy. I've also been on the palace grounds several times for royal family news conferences.“ Some quotes from her:

Quote:
The Japanese royal family has had gradually increasing fertility problems. There has been at least one male in every generation since Emperor Hirohito who has never had children. Luckily for Naruhito, who does seem like a sweet (if geeky) guy, ART (assisted reproductive techniques) came along in time for him. It's a widely-believed secret that he and Masako did do IVF -- eight years married before the first child, seven or six before the first pregnancy (which she lost) -- either that's assisted, or they finally got lucky. Also, somebody I know once saw Masako at a hospital famous for its fertility treatments -- which, incidentally, was the hospital where Kiko was hospitalised on bedrest and where Hisahito was born. We have no idea if Kiko had IVF or some sort of assistance; given her age (she was 40 when Hisahito was born) either is about equally possible.

IVF can't be talked about in connection with the royal family in Japan, though. Even Kiko's C-section with Hisahito was a big deal to some people. They also chose to give birth to him in a real hospital rather than the palace hospital, which was unprecedented.

As for Hisahito, I don't think he'd end up with psychological problems knowing he'd been born to be Emperor. First, he's obviously being cherished simply as a child. Second, he's a very, very important member of the family. I'd be surprised if he didn't grow up with a huge superiority complex.
Quote:
A few more tidbits on the royals, thanks to a women's gossip magazine:
1. The Emperor, Princess Masako and Prince Akishino all have driver's licenses. None of them drive outside the palace, of course. The Emperor apparently really likes cars.
2. The Crown Prince enjoyed eating at McDonald's during his time abroad at Oxford. He and Masako have occasionally ordered pizza to be delivered to the palace -- an image I just love!
3. The Imperial Family has always been relatively computer-savvy and got into computers and the internet fairly early. Not surprising, considering their lack of freedom.
Quote:
Masako, if you remember, is a former diplomat. She was one of the elite of the elite in the Foreign Ministry -- trips overseas, interpreting for visiting dignitaries. I got to know a lot of those people fairly well -- they're articulate, well-educated, bright, and often very funny. If I imagine one of them suddenly plunked down into palace life...well, it really brings home the adjustment Masako had to make.
Quote:
Empress Michiko caught a lot of flak too, but she at least was lucky enough to have the Crown Prince a year after her marriage and Akishino not too long after that, though I think there was a miscarriage in between. When she was leaving the hospital with the newborn Naruhito, she opened the car window a bit to let photographers get a glimpse of him. There's a classic picture of her with an old battleaxe of a courtier sitting there glaring at her...apparently they thought this would "endanger" the baby. (It was February, all right, but he did look pretty well wrapped).

Michiko suffered a lot of bullying from courtiers and came close to a nervous breakdown, or actually had one; she lost a lot of weight at one point in the first ten years of her marriage. Oddly, this doesn't seem to have made her all that sympathetic to Masako, as far as can be seen -- there have been some comments hinting at "I got over it, so why don't you." Of course, Michiko did have the two boys quite quickly, so she was then given a fair bit of leeway that Masako didn't get. Her foreign trips were literally limited in hopes that she'd get pregnant...as if that was the problem.

Ther's hints that the Crown Prince family is a bit estranged from the Emperor and Empress. Partly it's just that Michiko I think has never really understood Masako's longing for a career -- she was a commoner, but in the 50s nice rich girls like her were of course bred to expect nothing but motherhood -- and Kiko has always been the same way. In fact, my feeling is that Kiko is a little bit scheming -- apparently she set her cap for "a prince" from high school. (Her dad was a Gakushuin prof, so she was in the schools and knew Akishino from high school.) She drives me crazy -- always standing and smiling this "Stepford wife" smile. I was really, really hoping Hisahito would be a girl.
As they are all writing people in that forum, the associations they make are sometimes quite interesting. Regarding Princess Aiko (whose given name means “child of love”) someone says:
Quote:
an anime I love has a princess MC who is proud because she is a child of love (in a world where combining DNA to create a child is more of a calculation of prestige and importance then a romance... so there are few parents who actually love each other) maybe she's based off Aiko... that's cool)
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  #45  
Old 02-25-2014, 07:40 AM
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Anyone know Michiko's speech for her university graduation?

Hello. I have been looking for the graduation speech of Michiko Shoda as a valedictorian in 1956. If anyone knew it, please teach me!

Thank you!
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  #46  
Old 08-24-2014, 05:35 PM
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Some information that might surprise some people:

...Since we are talking about the Chrysanthemum Throne, well...

The Tenno/Mikado/"Emperor" IS STILL REGARDED AS A DIRECT DESCENDANT OF AMATERASU!!


Don't believe me?!


View the information in this post by myself!!


ALL Japanese were, & still are considered descendants of various Kami, but the Imperial Family were, & still are, considered to be descended from 1 of the MOST PROMINENT Kami, & it is such a despicable act of hypocrisy to tell the Mikado to "renounce" his sacred status, & to NOT pressure Christians, (especially the ultra-fundamentalist/fundamentalist types), to admit that the Christian Messiah ISN'T the "only-begotten" son of the divine, or the "only way to salvation"!!


Christianity is still true, but no more, (& no less), true than any other spiritual belief-system!!


SIDE-NOTE: I'm fairly certain that the Imperial Family of Japan IS DESCENDED FROM AMATERASU!!



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  #47  
Old 09-07-2014, 02:44 PM
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The Mikado is STILL regarded as a direct descendant of Amaterasu!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuf Pic, via Private Message, on another forum
Dear Link the Zora:

I have wanted to say this for a while, but the popular western interpretation of the Showa Mikado's "denial of divinity" is WRONG...


Humanity Declaration - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,


While the following quote may sound arrogant,


Quote:
Originally Posted by Showa Mikado
It is permissible to say that the idea that the Japanese are descendants of the gods is a false conception; but it is absolutely impermissible to call chimerical the idea that the emperor is a descendant of the gods.

Notice that he never says outright that they are NOT DESCENDANTS OF THE KAMI, he merely says it is PERMISSIBLE TO SAY THEY AREN'T!!


Seems far less arrogant than this:


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Nicene Creed
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

I mean, he can't be the ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, because, weren't we all "made in God's image"?!


Also, check out this link:


BBC - Religions - Shinto: Divinity of the Emperor...


In addition, these quotes are from The Complete Idiot's Guide To The World's Religions:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Section on Shinto, in previously mentioned book
Although there is no deity regarded as supreme over all kami, the sun goddess Amaterasu is accorded a high rank. Within Shinto, the emperor of Japan (whose temporal power has undergone many fluctuations over the centuries) is regarded as a direct descendant of Amaterasu.

It also mentions Hirohito's "renunciation of divinity", but only 1 time, ...&...


This is in "The Least You Need To Know" section, that concludes every chapter in "The Complete Idiot's Guide" series...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Summarizing Shinto
Preeminent among the innumerable kami is Amaterasu, the sun-goddess, regarded as the source of the dynastic line of Japanese emperors.

All emphasis is by myself...


The Mikado can STILL BE A DIRECT DESCENDANT OF AMATERASU!!


I'm fairly confident he is!!


Thought you should know about all of this!!
I figured I'd start a thread about the Mikado's divine descent, (rather than being a full-blown deity in his own right)!!


See above quote!!

Also, view my posts, here, & here!!
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  #48  
Old 05-21-2016, 07:33 PM
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This article is old but I found it interesting about the media coverage of the Imperial family.

Media minds manners in royal reportage | The Japan Times
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  #49  
Old 06-23-2016, 03:55 AM
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Asahi now has an Imperial princesses feature and a videos page.

Princess Special Feature
Videos of the Imperial Family
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  #50  
Old 07-28-2016, 01:41 AM
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An explanation of Japan's gengo (era name) system.

Imperial abdication talk poses question of Japan's next era | The Japan Times


Figures for the emperor's official duties
Abdication challenges include Emperor?s subsequent status - The Japan News

Quote:
Emperor's major official duties

Signing, sealing documents from Cabinet (cases)

2012 – 725
2013 – 990
2014 – 1,042
2015 – 1,060

Attestation ceremonies for cabinet ministers, others (people)

2012 – 101
2013 – 118
2014 – 88
2015 – 136

Presentations of credentials by new ambassadors to Japan (times)

2012 – 34
2013 – 26
2014 – 28
2015 – 26

Tea meetings with new ambassadors to Japan (countries)

2012 – 32
2013 – 29
2014 – 18
2015 – 30

Visits to locations in Tokyo, nearby areas (times)

2012 – 41
2013 – 58
2014 – 44
2015 – 28

Regional visits (areas)

2012 – 9 prefectures (20 municipalities)
2013 –
2014 – 14 prefectures (37 municipalities)
2015 – 15 prefectures (40 municipalities)

Based on Imperial Household Agency announcements, which did not include regional visits in 2013. Each annual cycle starts from the Emperor's birthday the previous year.
Defining Emperor as head of state a point of contention in Constitution debate - The Mainichi
Quote:
However, the supreme law has no provision for the Emperor's attendance at Diet session opening ceremonies, visits to other countries and attendance at national athletic meets. The opposition Japanese Communist Party had boycotted Diet session opening ceremonies on the grounds that the Emperor's speech in such ceremonies was unconstitutional until its legislators, for the first time, attended the opening ceremony for the 2016 regular Diet session in January.
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  #51  
Old 01-10-2017, 12:59 AM
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News Navigator: What work do people in the Imperial Household Agency do? - The Mainichi
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  #52  
Old 02-24-2017, 01:10 AM
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Food of the Imperial family

A respectful review of the royal diet ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

Quote:
If weekly magazines do not dwell a great deal on Japan’s monarch and his extended family, one reason must be that the Imperial Household Agency is rather circumspect about what it deigns to share with the media.

[...]

Well, some things are probably better left unsaid. But Flash (Feb 28) must be credited for having put together a three-page, reader-friendly essay on the emperor’s diet—no, not THAT Diet, the one he eats—that is, if not mouth-watering, at least quite informative.

Take this for example: midday repast: Rice/barley mixture; miso soup; grilled “sawara” (a type of mackerel); glazed ginger and chestnuts.

The above, gleaned from menus consumed by the present emperor’s father, Emperor Showa, is accompanied by a color photo representing a reproduction (not the actual meal), as it was served, on a tray with elegantly lacquered soup bowl and wooden chopsticks.

How did it taste? Former education minister Yoshinobu Shimamura, a close friend of the emperor, is quoted as saying, “I’ve been invited to meals any number of times at Togu Palace. They were more frugal than I anticipated they would be, and a bit on the bland side when it came to taste.

Flash reports that regular fare at the palace is the responsibility of the so-called Daizen department, which employs a total of 43 staff (as of the end of 2016). Food preparation duties are divided into five sections, whose tasks, respectively, involve 1) Japanese style food; 2) Western style food; 3) desserts; 4) bread and other baked items; and 5) meals for the crown prince and family. The meat, vegetables, dairy products and others are produced by the imperial farm in Tochigi Prefecture.

“The farm grows tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and so on, some 20 vegetables in all,” says a spokesperson for the Imperial Household Agency. “Use of chemical fertilizer and agricultural pesticides is held to the lowest level possible. At the beginning of 2017, the farm had 32 head of cattle, 729 chickens, 58 pigs and 355 ewes. The livestock are raised in a manner so as to cause them minimal stress. The farm also produces dairy items, such as milk, yogurt, etc, eggs, chicken and mutton, ham, sausage and so on.”

[...]

When it comes to entertaining foreign guests, the menu is invariably a full course repast of French cuisine—a policy in force since the days of Emperor Taisho, when legendary imperial chef Tokuzo Akiyama (1888-1974) managed the palace kitchen with an iron hand. U.S. President Barack Obama was said to have been highly impressed by the French meal during his state visit in 2014.

In the latter part of the article, journalist Akira Hashimoto, a close confident of the emperor since their schooldays together at Gakushuin, shares some revelations. For one, his majesty enjoys smearing seaweed “tsukudani” (a condiment typically eaten with rice) atop buttered toast. There’s a story that when rooming together with his younger brother Prince Hitachi in a dormitory, the siblings would enjoy snacking on steamed buns with pork and sweet bean fillings; and that he has a pronounced sweet tooth and has long favored Colombin brand apple pie. Hashimoto adds that both the Emperor and Empress Michiko also enjoy imbibing whiskey, Japanese sake and other alcoholic beverages.
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  #53  
Old 03-14-2017, 05:41 PM
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Who is this??

I would be very grateful if someone on the forum could identify the two gentlemen in this photo. From memory I recall the one on the left is from the collateral Asaka branch and the one on the right is a cousin(?) of Emperor Akihito.

Any help very gratefully received.
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  #54  
Old 03-26-2017, 03:27 PM
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Who is this??

Hello,

I'd be really grateful if someone can help identify the gentlemen in this photo. As I recall the gentleman on the left is a member of the Asaka collateral branch and the gentleman on the right is a cousin (?) of Emperor Akihito.

Many thanks for any help

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  #55  
Old 08-14-2017, 01:17 AM
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Nosai-no-gi: betrothal rite that makes an engagement official. The groom's messenger visits the Imperial Palace with gifts - a pair of sea breams (male and female), bottles of sake, and silk cloth. Usually the sake and silk are boxed. The future Crown Princess receives 5 volumes of silk while other incoming princesses receive 3 volumes. Outgoing princesses get 2 volumes of silk from their grooms.

Princess Sayako got the pair of fish, 3 bottles of sake, and 2 volumes of silk.
http://www.asahicom.jp/articles/imag...03637_comm.jpg

Princess Noriko's Nosai-no-gi varied a bit. She got money for the sea breams, 3 bottles of sake from Izumo Taisha Shrine, and a white silk dress.
http://www.asahicom.jp/articles/imag...03610_comm.jpg

Sources: Asahi, Japanese wiki 納采の儀
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  #56  
Old 11-15-2017, 05:37 PM
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NY Times article about Takako Shimazu (ex-Princess Suga) in 1970.

Unconventional Japanese Princess Becomes a Working Woman - The New York Times
Quote:
[...]

Mrs. Shimazu, the former Princess Suga, has been working as a consultant in the exclusive Seibu Pisa store in the Tokyo Prince Hotel here since the beginning of the month, somewhat to her parents’ surprise.

“I didn't ask my parents’ advice because our positions are so different I felt they wouldn't understand,” Mrs. Shimazu said recently in her apartment. “I did try to inform them just before actually taking the job, but the newspapers got hold of the story, and I was able to get a telephone call into the palace only on the afternoon of the day the evening papers were to carry the story.”

First One to Go to Work

[...]

She said she went to work because she loves decorative arts and wants to “learn through doing.” So three afternoons a week she sits in a corner of the store's Royal Salon, reserved for special customers, dispensing advice on fashion, furnishings and gift‐giving. She is under no obligation, she insisted, to sell merchandise, but gives undecided customers ideas.

[...]

Whatever job she took, Mrs. Shimazu said she knew there would be criticism and some attempt to capitalize on her name. These apprehensions kept her from taking the plunge sooner, although she appeared several times as a guest on radio disk jockey programs soon after her marriage in 1960.

Now her only son, Yoshihisa, is in the third grade and does not require her care during the daytime. And she was getting bored with the daily round of luncheons and exhibitions that took up many hours.

[...]

Brought Up by Governesses

“Until I reached kindergarten age, I lived with my parents,” she said. “Then I was sent to Kuretake Hall, a building within the Imperial enclosure but some distance from the Emperor's Palace, to be brought up by governesses with my sisters.

“In the Imperial family,” she ex plained, “the custom was for male children to be brought up separately, each one in his own place with his own attendants, and for female children to be brought up together, but separately from their parents.”

She found palace life extremely restrictive, but did not actively rebel. “I used to think what's the use of making a fuss, since I can't change things any way,” she said.

[...]

Like her older brothers, the Crown Prince and Prince Hitachi, she went to the Peer's College, an institution now open to all, but originally intended for the children of nobility and high Government officials. (Her older sisters, educated before and during World War II, did not go beyond the Peeresses’ High School.)

In her junior year in college, where she majored in English, an arranged marriage was suggested. She accepted, but with one condition: after a period of courtship, both she and her prospective husband — Hisanaga Shimazu, a classmate of the Crown Prince and scion of a feudal family of Imperial descent, which had ruled Kagashima, in southern Japan for centuries—be allowed to refuse marriage if they found themselves incompatible.

“In my case,” she said, “a non arranged marriage was practically impossible. But I didn't want to repeat the kind of marriage all my older sisters had had to go through—'how do you do’ in the morning and everything decided by the afternoon.”

Relationship Bloomed

The meeting took place, the two young people began dating each other, and their companionship blossomed into marriage.

[...]

Mr. Shimazu is a staff member of the Japan Export‐Import Bank. In the mid‐nineteen‐sixties, he was assigned to Washington, and Mrs. Shimazu accompanied him with their infant son to spend two years as housewife in an apartment in the American capital.

“I didn't have any difficulty adjusting to American life,” Mrs. Shimazu said. “We had been brought up wearing Western clothes, eating Western food as well as Japanese, so, I wasn't surprised or taken aback by anything I found in America.

“The adjustment came, oddly enough, after we returned to Japan. It's difficult to explain. I don't feel myself that have changed, but I have not always been able to shift back into the same old relationship with friends and acquaintances I had before going to America. They never say so to me, but I have a feeling some of them are silently reproaching me for becoming too Americanized.”

[...]

Loath to Embarrass Parents

Referring back to newspaper criticism of her new job, the former Princess said earnestly, “I realize my position and that there are things I cannot do. I have no title, but I am the Emperor's daughter. I don't want to embarrass my parents in any way.

“No one would have criticized me if I'd taken an honorary position or gone into charity work. I grant you that charity work is splendid, that some day I myself may do it, but for now I want to test my own capacities and see how far I can go.”
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  #57  
Old 11-16-2017, 03:32 PM
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Fuyu persimmons from Ibaraki Prefecture were delivered to the Imperial Palace and IHA on November 14th. The previous day, a committee in Ishioka city's Kakioka district sorted through 180 persimmons grown by 3 producers, to select 72 good colored and shaped fruits. Producers began donating persimmons to the IHA in the mid-1950s and now this annual delivery has become a city project.

Sources: ibarakinews.jp, Sankei
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  #58  
Old 12-19-2017, 01:26 PM
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Empress Michiko: The Times and Trials of the Emperor’s Devoted Consort | Nippon.com
by Watanabe Midori
Quote:
[...]

Responding to Critical Coverage
Empress Michiko turned 59 on October 20, 1993. At the time I was teaching at a university, and that morning I delivered a lecture on the topic of “Empress Michiko’s self-realization.” When I returned home shortly after 11 in the morning, there were close to 10 messages on my answering machine. The empress had collapsed, and the messages were all requests from media organs for my comments or for me to appear on news programs. [...]

Weekly magazines had recently been carrying articles with headlines declaring that the natural woods on the grounds of the Imperial Palace, which the emperor loved, had been razed at the empress’s request. [...]

Empress Michiko had taken the unusual step of rebutting this coverage in written answers to questions from the press: “I believe that I must lend my ear to criticisms of every sort as a means of self-reflection. I request pardon if I have up to now failed to show adequate consideration or if my words have hurt people in any way. However, I feel great sadness and confusion at nonfactual reporting. Our society must not be one that does not allow criticism, but I do not want it to be a society that allows repeated criticisms not based on fact.”(*2)

Refraining from public expressions of approval or disapproval is part of the basic etiquette practiced by members of the imperial family. It was unprecedented for the empress to deliver a public reply to such media stories.

[...]

Why Did the Empress Lose Her Voice?
After her collapse, Empress Michiko lost her voice. She underwent a detailed brain examination at the Hospital of the Imperial Household, but the medical team treating her reported that they had found nothing abnormal; they explained that voice-loss symptoms may occur when a person has experienced some great sorrow.

Three days later, on October 23, the empress accompanied the emperor on a visit to Tokushima and Kagawa Prefectures for the autumn National Athletic Meet, and she performed her subsequent official duties without any break. Her voice, however, was slow to return. Her daughter, Princess Nori (Sayako), stayed with her constantly and supported her in her everyday life, And she received countless messages of encouragement and senbazuru, sets of a thousand origami cranes that people folded and strung for her.

On February 12 of the following year, in advance of the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II, the imperial couple visited Iwo Jima (Iōtō), the site of a fierce battle during the war. [...] The next day, on Chichijima, one of the Ogasawara Islands, [...] the empress remarked to one child, “The next wave will carry that turtle back to the ocean.” According to an announcement from the Imperial Household Agency, this marked the start of the gradual return of her voice.

Why did the empress lose her voice? [...] I would suggest the problem was caused not by psychological factors but by excessive fatigue.

The empress, born in 1934, was surely suffering from a level of fatigue, tension, and stress defying description. Just in the two months prior to her collapse she traveled to Europe twice, first for the funeral of Belgium’s King Baudouin and then on a three-country tour of Italy, Belgium, and Germany.

The imperial couple’s official duties include occasions where they are surrounded by tens of thousands of people, and there are times when they become the target of opponents of the monarchy and unexpected incidents occur. On April 10, 1959, their wedding day, a young man threw a stone at them. And they had a firebomb thrown at them while they were visiting Okinawa for Expo ’75. Then there was the smoke bomb incident at the National Athletic Meet in Yamagata in the autumn of 1992, the year before the empress’s collapse. A man suddenly ran out on to the stadium track, screamed, “Stop the emperor’s trip to China!” and hurled a smoke bomb at the royal box as Emperor Akihito was delivering his message to the gathering. The emperor maintained his composure and continued to speak, but the empress’s reaction drew wide public attention: When the smoke bomb was thrown, she immediately moved her arm in front of the emperor to protect him. This was very impressive, and it made me realize how difficult it must be for her, being under constant physical and mental strain.

The Trials of Japan’s First Commoner Crown Princess
[...] Entries from the diary of Irie Sukemasa, who served for half a century as a chamberlain to Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), reveal that Empress Kōjun (Nagako) was unhappy from the start about the match between the heir to the throne and this woman named Shōda Michiko.

The two were married in April 1959, but in his diary entry for October 11 of the previous year Irie writes, “It is said that the Empress summoned Lady Setsuko, [Princess Chichibu] and Lady Kikuko [Princess Takamatsu] to talk about the Crown Prince’s prospective consort, saying that marrying a commoner would be shameful.”

Even almost a decade later, Crown Princess Michiko was apparently still having a hard time in her relationship with her mother-in-law Empress Kōjun. In his diary entry for November 13, 1967, Irie reports that the crown princess revealed her sentiments to him as follows: “Audience with the Crown Princess for over two hours, from 3:30 to 5:40. . . . She concluded by asking me what on earth the Empress thought of her, what, aside from her birth as a commoner, the Empress disliked about her, etc. I answered the questions and withdrew.”

[...]
The Imperial Family as Postwar Role Model | Nippon.com
by Yamada Masahiro
Quote:
[...]
Crown Princess Michiko as a Full-time Homemaker

[...]

In the publicity photos from around this time, images of Crown Prince Akihito relaxing or playing with his family figure prominently alongside the usual photos of public appearances and ceremonies. Today, we take the idea of family recreation for granted, but in the imperial family, as in other upper-class households, it was customary until then for the husband, wife, and children to pursue their leisure activities separately. This was another respect in which the crown prince and princess served as a role model for postwar families.

Role Models in an Aging Society
[...]

On the other hand, when Crown Prince Naruhito chose to wed Owada Masako, who had embarked on a promising career in diplomacy, I, for one, expressed hopes that their marriage would set an example for the Heisei era, pointing the way to a new mode of family living based on a two-career household. Sometimes, however, the burden of high expectations can be too much to bear; after marriage Crown Princess Masako gave up her career. It seems to have fallen to the current crown prince and princess to illustrate the difficulty of altering the status quo instead of providing a model for change.

In either case, Japanese society has diversified to the point where no single family can serve as a role model for the entire nation. [...] What role can the imperial family play in such an environment?

It seems to me that Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have answered that question with their 2013 decision to scale down their funeral rites and mausoleums and, more recently, in the emperor’s remarks concerning abdication. In both cases, they have set an example for the elderly in an era of demographic aging and dwindling families.

The custom of the ancestral grave, passed down through the male line, did not take hold among the general populace until the Meiji era, with the codification of the ie system. In the postwar period, the custom of maintaining the ancestral plot has become an increasingly heavy burden, and today—when most couples are having only one child and many people are forgoing marriage altogether—it is fast becoming an impossibility. [...]

In fact, both the imperial couple’s decision about their burial and the emperor’s statement regarding abdication strike me as admirable examples of planning for the end so as to lighten the burden on those left behind. Such preparation has become a common theme in Japanese society in recent years; indeed, the buzzword shūkatsu (“end-of-life activity”) was coined to facilitate that discussion. [...]

It seems to me that recent statements and decisions by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are the product of their own shūkatsu. With an awareness that the time left to them is limited, they are making every effort to minimize the burden to the nation. This has only deepened my admiration for them.
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  #59  
Old 05-20-2018, 02:35 AM
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Why the empress must leave her 'cocoon' at the Imperial Palace: The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
[...]

Michiko is the fourth empress to get involved in sericulture at the Imperial Palace since the tradition started in 1871.

[...]

“I was stunned when I saw the empress scooping up handfuls of silkworms herself,” recalled Takeshi Shirota, who supervises silk farming operations at the palace.

[...]

The two-story Momijiyama Cocoonery where Michiko, 83, works was built in 1914.

Shirota, who has a Ph.D. in sericulture, was appointed to his current position about two years ago. [...]

Shirota, 68, and four young assistants fresh from college and high school, help the empress with her work.

Three varieties of silkworm are raised at the imperial farm based on methods established more than a century ago. That means no air conditioning or artificial feed.

Estimates of the number of silkworms in residence range from 120,000 to 150,000.

The empress works with her bare hands for most of the process, which involves feeding silkworms with mulberry leaves and weaving straw for silkworms to spin cocoons inside.

Last year, she spent 19 days toiling at the silk farm and harvested cocoons weighing a total of 160.4 kilograms.

[...]

“The empress harbors a sense of empathy for people who have striven to sustain sericulture, an industry that shored up Japan’s modernization,” an agency official said. “She also wishes to serve as a bridge so as to pass down the tradition.”

Of the three silkworm species kept at the imperial cocoonery, threads from Koishimaru are regarded as the most suitable to restore centuries-old silk fabrics.

Koishimaru is the indigenous species that Japanese silk farmers have raised since ancient times. The silkworm has not been crossbred with other varieties.

Silk from Koishimaru was used to reproduce cloth covering the armrest for Emperor Shomu (701-756), [...]

Koishimaru silk was also used to repair Kasuga Gongen Genki-e, a silk scroll painting from the early 14th century.

Many sericulture farmers stopped raising Koishimaru because the work is more demanding, compared with other species. Also, their cocoons are smaller.

Officials proposed ending Koishimaru cultivation in the palace grounds shortly after Akihito ascended to the throne in 1989, but the empress insisted on keeping the species as she wished to “preserve something old.”

[...]
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  #60  
Old 05-20-2018, 02:42 AM
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Its a bit sad that she has to give it up. Is there some rule that 'only the empress can raise silk worms'? I would think even if her husband abdicates, she should be able to continue as long as she wishes. It would be good to train Masako or someone so the tradition continues but still. Maybe Masako 'officially takes over' but the empress continues quietly?? Certainly if common farmers can raise silk worms, the former empress can.
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